Queen Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 - 22 January 1901) was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India. Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke of Kent and King George III died in 1820, and Victoria was raised under close supervision by her German-born mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died leaving no legitimate, surviving children. The United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the Sovereign held relatively little direct political power. Privately, Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Publicly, she became a national icon, and was identified with strict standards of personal morality. Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840. Their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe." After Albert's death in 1861, Victoria plunged into deep mourning and avoided public appearances. As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration. Her reign of 63 years and seven months, which is longer than that of any other British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history, is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. She was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover. Her son and successor, Edward VII, belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the line of his father.
In Victorian Writing about Risk, first published in 2000, Elaine Freedgood explores the geography of risk produced by a wide spectrum of once-popular literature, including works on political economy, sanitary reform, balloon flight, Alpine mountaineering and African exploration. The consolations offered by this geography of risk are precariously predicated on the stability of dominant Victorian definitions of people and places. Women, men, the labouring and middle classes, the English and the Irish, Africa and Africans: all have assigned identities which allow risk to be located and contained. When identities shift and boundaries fail, danger and safety begin to appear in all the wrong places. The texts that this study focuses on reveal the ways in which risk moralizes and naturalizes the economic and political institutions of industrial, imperial culture during a period of unprecedented expansion and change.